UK utility Severn Trent tests the waters with £4.8m for SCADA monitoring and management in the clouds

'Vision' platform to be 'cornerstone of our emerging asset intelligence strategy and programme'

UK utility Severn Trent Water has offered £4.8m for a cloud-based platform to juggle its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

The £1.7bn-revenue firm aims to plug various data sources, from machine senors to weather readings, into the deployment, which will be used to measure and manage the utility's equipment. It's therefore looking for, among other things, industrial alarm-monitoring capabilities – which would notify plant managers should something go awry – as well as predictive analytics for "network situational awareness," which might, for example, warn the utility of upcoming surges in usage.

Having struck a £13.5m cloud deal with Microsoft Azure in 2019, Severn Trent Water wants to keep an eye on its facilities and related data crunching from that platform.

"The utilities are seeking a new solution to replace the existing SCADA systems," the tender document said.

"The proposed solution, which we are calling Vision, will integrate with all existing disparate data sources (GIS, asset data, weather etc), into an integrated Azure hosted platform aligned with the utilities' cloud strategy.

"The solution will provide the capability to perform insight and predictive analytics for network situational awareness, alarm monitoring and resolution, scenario generation and forecasting to manage the operations and control of assets more effectively."

The company said the new Vision platform will become "a cornerstone of our emerging asset intelligence strategy and programme."

A spokesman said the utility currently uses a number of vendors for its SCADA system. The contract for the replacement is expected to last five years, and the deadline for receipt of tenders is 21 September. Although the deal with Azure included the migration of data centre equipment and workloads to the public cloud, the company said it is also working with Amazon's AWS as part of its cloud framework.

If Severn Trent believes a new SCADA system will boost its performance then it may well be necessary. Regulator Ofwat has set a target to reduce water leakage by 16 per cent by 2025.

It is a problem that still dogs the industry, with Severn Trent responsible for burst mains in Birmingham and Redditch.

Severn Trent is not the only water company hoping tech will help it up its game. In August, Thames Water was awarding contracts that could be worth up to £100m to a group of 13 IT consultancies to support IT infrastructure, applications and architecture. ®

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